Matthias Bathke Avatar


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PageSpeed – WordPress themes in comparison

Your WordPress site is badly ranked on Google, even though you have invested a lot of time and money in high quality content and marketing? Your WordPress theme may prevent a better ranking.

We compared top WordPress themes in terms of PageSpeed and PageLoad – the results are here. The three most popular themes compete against our SV100 WordPress theme in four different scenarios. See here what effect the chosen theme alone can have on the pageload – one of the many criteria for Google ranking.

Themes comparison


Avada is the most popular paid theme on ThemeForest.


is the most popular independent theme in the WP theme repository.

Twenty Twenty

is the default theme and comes bundled with WordPress.


our self-developed theme is available free of charge.


The load time of your website depends heavily on the amount of data that is being transferred. Your visitors need more bandwidth or more patience to view your website. A theme should use resources as sparingly as possible, so that you have more freedom in your content.

Google recommends that a website should not exceed 1,600 kilobytes PageSize.

However, Avada – without optimization – already requires over 1,700 kilobytes – without content. Therefore, it is better to choose a theme that is more economical with resources.

Below you can see the tested themes – the bigger the PageSize, the worse:

Space for your content

If you follow Google’s recommended PageSize budget – how much space for your content do WordPress themes give you? We compare here in the optimized scenario, i.e. with activated NGINX + WP-Rocket.


The PageSize has a direct impact on the PageLoad – but this mainly affects the path from the server to the client. After that, the pages still have to be displayed in the browser. The loading of data and the structure of the pages happens a bit in parallel and can be influenced by the theme developer. Important data should be transferred first, unimportant later.

For our measurement we used the Load Time from pingdom – but in the PageSpeed tests you can find a more detailed breakdown – e.g. when the first content was drawn or from when the user can interact with the page.


The number of requests should be kept as low as possible – each request generates additional load. The more files the theme includes, such as media, styles, or scripts, the more requests the client and server need to process.

Intelligent and tidy asset loading through the theme effectively reduces the number of requests required and increases PageSpeed.


The PageSpeed is a measurement value that gives an expression about the speed of a website – here numerous criteria are queried, which have to be fulfilled. The maximum achievable value is 100/100.

The first value represents mobile speed, the second represents desktop devices. Since Google has switched indexing to Mobile-First, the first value for mobile devices is decisive for the ranking in the Google index.

Google is constantly raising the bar – new technologies are created and eventually assumed. Therefore, do not wait to optimize – it will not make it better.


TEST SITESPageSpeedPingdomPagesizePageloadRequests
Vanilla29/73912.4 MB877ms12
WP-Rocket44/84942.4 MB433 ms10
NGINX Optimized77/95960.64 MB849 ms12
WP-Rocket + NGINX Optimized79/96970.64 MB490 ms10

Ocean WP

TEST SITESPageSpeedPingdomPagesizePageloadRequests
Vanilla63/90840.71 MB489 ms19
WP-Rocket94/98960.70 MB351 ms7
NGINX Optimized81/95910.29 MB753 ms19
WP-Rocket + NGINX Optimized97/98980.28 MB200 ms7

Twenty Twenty

TEST SITESPageSpeedPingdomPagesizePageloadRequests
Vanilla94/98850.25 MB215 ms8
WP-Rocket97/100960.18 MB140 ms5
NGINX Optimized99/100960.07 MB210 ms8
WP-Rocket + NGINX Optimized100/100980.06 MB134 ms5


Test SitesPageSpeedPingdomPagesizePageloadRequests
Vanilla100/100990.04 MB267 ms1
WP-Rocket100/100970.02 MB114 ms3
NGINX Optimized100/1001000.01 MB275 ms1
WP-Rocket + NGINX Optimized100/100990.01 MB121 ms3


If usability, SEO or the Adwords quality score are important for your website – opt for a WordPress theme that supports you and does not slow you down.

Of course, the final values of your website also depend on the installed plugins, content and media – but here you can control more than the behavior of your theme. The theme forms the basis for the issue of your website. Look for actual modular themes that only deliver what is actually needed.